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What Is Credit Card Fraud?

Stack of credit cards
August 14, 2019 | Written by Dan Margolis

Credit card fraud is a serious crime in Ohio. A person commits this offense when they use a credit card that does not belong to them to acquire cash or pay for goods or services without the permission of the cardholder. Credit card fraud could also involve elements of identity theft.

If you have been accused of and charged with credit card fraud, you face fines, incarceration, and a myriad of collateral consequences. Don’t plead guilty to this crime without speaking to a Cleveland theft attorney at The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis. By consulting with an experienced lawyer, you might be able to beat the charge, keep the case off your record, get the charges reduced, or even obtain a dismissal.

To learn more about how attorney Daniel Margolis can help, call (216) 533-9533 today, or reach out through the online form.

Credit Card Fraud Under Ohio Law

Credit card fraud is covered under Ohio Revised Code Section (ORC) 2913.21. A person commits misuse of a credit card if they do any of the following:

  • Practices deception to procure the issuance of a credit card
  • Knowingly buys or sell a credit card to or from a person other than the issuer
  • Knowingly uses a credit card held by a political office while in an elected position or working for a political subdivision

A person who steals a credit card out of someone’s wallet can be prosecuted for the same crime as an individual who uses another person’s information to obtain a credit card and make purchases.

How Serious is Credit Card Fraud in Ohio?

If you get charged with misuse of a credit card in OH, the severity of your case will depend on the value of the goods/money involved when the credit card was used fraudulently. Based on the details of your case, you may be charged with the following:

First-Degree Misdemeanor

Cases that involve no stolen property or services, or items valued at $1,000 or less:

  • Jail time of up to 180 days
  • Fines reaching $1,000

Fifth-Degree Felony

For amounts of services and good involving amounts between $1,000 and $7,499, the penalties are as follows:

  • Six months to one year in prison
  • A fine of up to $2,500

Fourth-Degree Felony

Did you get charged with fraudulently using a credit card for items with values between $7,500 and $149,999? If so, you face the following:

  • A prison sentence of six to 18 months
  • Fines reaching $5,000

Third-Degree Felony

For credit card fraud cases involving $150,000 or more, the penalties include:

  • Nine months to five years in prison
  • Fines between $5,000 and $10,000

Other Related Offenses

If the alleged victim of misuse of a credit card was an elderly or disabled adult, offenses are categorized differently. For situations involving less than $1,000, you would face a fifth-degree felony. When the value of the items was between $1,000 and $7,499, the offense is considered a felony of the fourth degree. Third-degree felony charges apply when the credit card fraud involved goods or services valued at amounts between $7,500 and $37,499. And if you are accused of defrauding an elderly or disabled adult victim out of $37,500 or more via credit card, you face second-degree felony charges, which are punishable by two to eight years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines.

Credit Card Fraud Defenses

If you have been charged with misuse of a credit card, don’t consider pleading guilty until you have discussed your case with an attorney. There may be a way to defend the charges or mitigate the prosecution’s case. In order to obtain a conviction, the prosecution must prove every element of the crime. If they fail to do so, you cannot be found guilty.

An attorney can help you by reviewing the evidence in your case and discussing each defense that is available to you. In many cases, your defense will be based on challenging the evidence against you.

Possible arguments to be made against accusations of credit card fraud include:

  • Lack of proof – Mere suspicion of a crime is not enough to sustain a conviction. The state must have enough evidence against you to prove you guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
  • Lack of intent – If you used a card that was not yours and it was an honest mistake, you may be able to claim you did not knowingly commit a crime and lacked the mental state to do so.
  • Mental disease or defect – If you have a mental condition that prevents you from understanding your conduct or being able to conform your conduct to the requirements of the law, this defense could benefit your case.
  • Duress – If you committed the crime but did so under extreme duress – such as a threat of grave bodily injury or death – your attorney should raise this line of thought.

Reach Out to a Cleveland Credit Card Fraud Attorney for Help

Have you been accused of misuse of a credit card? If so, you need to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. The Law Office of Daniel M. Margolis has represented many individuals charged with serious crimes, and attorney Daniel Margolis will work hard to obtain the best possible outcome for you.

To schedule a free and confidential case consultation, call (216) 533-9533 today, or reach out online.

Attorney Margolis is not currently providing free consultations nor accepting new clients. Please be advised that contact form submissions and calls may not be returned.